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Executive Council to consider raising dollar threshold for contracts

The Executive Council meets Wednesday in Keene and one of the issues under discussion is the dollar threshold for state contracts.

Currently, the council has to approve all state contracts of more than $10,000 and all personnel requests that are more than $2,500.

Some of the five councilors and some state officials say that threshold is too low and results in wasted time and expense as state agencies have to prepare and vet the contracts as do the councilors.

The council is expected to vote Wednesday on a six-month pilot program that would raise the threshold to $25,000 for contracts as well as a higher figure for personnel that has yet to be determined.

District 5 Executive Councilor Deborah Pignatelli, D-Nashua, has been pushing to raise the current threshold limits. She is not running for re-election, so she will not benefit from any change in the procedure.

According to information from the council, a typical $25,000-or-less contract takes 40 to 85 hours to process and costs nearly $3,000.

Councilor Colin Van Ostern, D-Concord, supports the change and said in a recent opinion piece, “the best way to ensure both transparency and accountability is to ensure that the council review process focuses on projects that have a big impact on the state — and too often, the smaller contracts are essentially shielding them from the full review they deserve.”

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